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Stories, rants & conversations on life in Asia’s craziest city.

Talking With Phra Pandit: What’s Up With Buddhist Novices? [Season 3, Episode 16]

Have you ever seen those little kids walking around a temple dressed as monks? Well guess what - they ARE monks! Sort of. Mostly. Well, probably more than you are, anyway. Definitely more than we are. On this episode, Greg talks to perennial BP favorite Phra Pandit - a real, actual monk - about Thai novices, which is what not-yet-monks are called in Thailand. Pandit explains the origin of the 'novice’ concept and how children in Thailand are often placed in temples due to family or behavioral issues. Phra Pandit notes that the system is not perfect - the young boys are expected to follow the Buddhist precepts and cannot play football or computer games or have relationships with girls - but that the system somehow 'works’ in that the lives of countless young boys seem to be improved over time and many adults look back fondly on their time as novices.

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